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Pictures of benchmarks and pictures of scenery at the benchmark - interests, art, spoilers, etc.


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Everyone has differences in what aspects of an activity is the most enjoyable to them. Benchmark hunting is different from Geocaching in that a large part of the activity in Benchmark hunting is photography.

 

Benchmark photography is in 2 categories - photographing OF the benchmark itself, and photographing the view(s) FROM the benchmark.

 

I find the view photography much more interesting.

 

I wonder what other people's thoughts are on this.

 

I have found some benchmarks and enjoyed the process of finding them, but have never taken pictures of any, although I have taken view pictures and posted them.

 

I also greatly enjoy looking at other people's view pictures in the Gallery, but never look at the benchmark pictures - they just aren't all that different from each other. The view pictures have such interesting differences in local plants, landforms, people, and other scenery aspects!

 

I guess one could say that without a closeup benchmark picture, there's no actual proof that I've been to the benchmarks that I've logged, but I'm out for the challenge and the process, not proofs, and certainly wouldn't claim a find if I couldn't achieve it. Plus, after one person has photographed the benchmark, how do you photograph it differently to prove that you were there too? Put your driver's licence next to it in the picture?

 

I can't resist bringing up the relationship of all this to the spoiler concept. I find that benchmark hunting does have an aspect of challenge, and I just wouldn't be as interested in finding a benchmark's location that's 'spoiled' by a picture showing how to find the benchmark. I think that neither a CLOSEUP VIEW OF IT, nor a view FROM IT is particularly a spoiler, but a view of it that shows its location in relationship to the local environment IS definitely a spoiler.

 

I know - just don't look at the spoiler. But its existence on the site is itself a spoiler whether you look at it or not.

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My take (heh) on the picture thing... I photograph the monument up close, and nothing else. For the most part, the things I find tend to be along old railroads, and the 'view' is just a tunnel in the trees. Other stuff around here is out along roads, and again, you just get the big flat nothing shot. My photograph of the disk or whatever is just evidence to support my claim of finding it.

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Agreed... er... I mean, I agree with the fellow that says photography has nothing to do with the benchmark hunt, for me.

 

I take the picture to document my find, that's all. Like someone else said, I think... there aren't really any remarkable views from the benchmarks I've found so far.

 

This one was kind of unique though... Sugar Grove Lookout Tower

 

--==< http://home.columbus.rr.com/rubbertoe >==--

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Benchmarks can vary greatly in the challenges they represent. I have only found 1 so far but I have been out looking for several others. the first one was on a monument that marks the entry to my subdivision. When I ran a zipcode search I came accross it and from reading the info sheet I knew exactly where to find it. There was no challenge at all. The info sheets often will tell you exactly where to find it. You really don't even need your GPS. For example, (Wasington Street East 1.6 miles from the Main Fire Station to Route W, Then North .5 miles to a bridge over the East Branch River. The marker is a bronze disc located in the South end of the bridge 2.25' along the hand rail of the East side of the bridge, 6' from the curb of the roadway...)

 

Other benchmarks can be a bit more challenging though, especially if an area where many of the landmarks for finding the marker may no longer exist. My second Benchmark search has actually been more of a project. I have been searching an old Navy base that has been closed and is now undergoing redevelopment. Many of the buildings roads, runways, gates, fences... that were used as references are gone. So far, I have determined that the South Gate Guard House has been removed. The East Gate and Eastern boundries fences have been removed and houses have been built on and over the property line to adjacent parcels. One old office building that I know was along the fence line is still there marking where the gate was. The marker that was described as being 2' from the East Boundry fence line now appears to be in the living room of a new home. I went down 2 streets, one on each side of the house. My GPS indicated 98' North from one curb behind the house and 150' South from the office building accross the street on the front of the house. Putting the living room in the middle. The operations building and the control tower with revolving light still are there and seem to be undergoing renovation into a shopping center. I have not gotten close enough to see if the marker(s) there are still there. The water tower is not present on the skyline either.

 

Anyways, my point is that searching benchmarks can become quite challenging when you look at your hunt as an entire package or project and when the environment is undergoing frequent change or alteration. Yes, like you said, they are a real challenge for your photography skills. Closeup, as well as landscape etc. It also helps you think of how you can use your photography skills to document as well as illustrate.

 

Before I embarked on my first benchmark hunt I read a paper published by NGS about digital photography of survey devices. I don't remember the details of where I found it but it was on the NGS site. A full description is in my post under Steeples. This publication showed me what the minimum PACKAGE of photos was for the documentation of a benchmark. Of course you can go to any extreme you want or that your creativity takes you. However there are only 3 basic pictures they need. The marker (Close up), The marker in it's position (a little wider). And, a picture or pictures showing the surrounding area. The pictures you take should fill these needs and would be numbered 1, 2, 3 respectively. If you take additional pictures in each class than you would add a, b, c to them. For example, one of my finds I took two closeups. One normal(1a) and one extreme showing just the stamped numbers of the date and the marker number or ID(1b) I also took a few pictures of the surroundings of the marker, showing angles of direction toward other landmarks numbered 3a 3b 3c... This is where your GPS can really be helpful in marking where you took the pictures from.

 

You can certainly take, like I mentioned also in the Steeples post, beauty shots and other good creative and artistic shots but while you are there pop off the basic necessity shots as well. I agree with you though that when I look at the gallery I tend to pass over the ones of the benchmarks. One bronze disk is often the same as another. I find the catagory 3 shots the most interesting. Like you said they show you the different environments that exist accross this land. From mountains to cities and highways to the pastures of Wisconsin or the swamps of Florida... Maybe in relation to this hobby, if people use image numbers in their image names, according to the above mentioned NGS guidlines, other seekers might be able to choose shots that they don't want to look at as spoilers. Knowing that images with number 1 on them are close ups of the marker and that 2s show the placement of the marker and that 3 shots are area shots might help seekers decide what kind of help they want or don't want.

 

Personally, I wouldn't be put off by others who have already located and posted spoiler photos of a marker. I also don't think you need to do anything like putting your drivers license in a photo to show your mark on the location. Your view and interpretation should differentiate your experience from others. If you want your photos to stand out from the next guys on a table of pictures put your innitials in, say, the lower right corner of your pictures. That shouldn't be that necessary though since your photos are attached to your log entry. As a photography enthusiast, I look at it that my creativity, skills and personality can document a given site differently than someone else. Even if I can find the marker in 15 seconds the experience is an individual exercise in a procedure and an art. We are all individuals and our pictures can reflect differences in how we see the marker and it's surroundings compaired to the next guy. As for photographing a close up of the marker the only purpose of that, officially, is to determine the condition of the marker and that it is the marker in question. As for this hobby it would be the latter and your evidence that you were there. Like I said, put your innitials in the lower right and somebody else can't use your picture to document finding the marker themselves. Although why somebody would do that, I don't know... icon_confused.gif After all, this is a game. And I add, one that there is no actual reward or penalty for. Therefore if somebody derives enjoyment from cheating and fabricating experiences that they never accomplished or experienced so what. You point out what gives you the enjoyment, That is the important thing. With your expressed views I can safely say, you will derive more actual enjoyment from Benchmark Hunting than the guy who may log finds that he/she never found. The experience of being someplace and seeing with your own eyes... will always be in your brain. The other guy won't have that.

 

Lastly, there is the significance of some benchmarks. Their historical or arcitectural significance of the site. The landscape or scenic beauty. Whether it was easy to find or not or someone else had found it first, the ability to locate it and view and enjoy it yourself has plenty of value as well. An interesting way to direct your travel accross the country or even your hometown. Could even help you see your own neighborhood in a new light from areas, angles or vantagepoints that you previously took for granted.

 

quote:
Originally posted by Black Dog Trackers:

Everyone has differences in what aspects of an activity is the most enjoyable to them. Benchmark hunting is different from Geocaching in that a large part of the activity in Benchmark hunting is photography.

 

Benchmark photography is in 2 categories - photographing OF the benchmark itself, and photographing the view(s) FROM the benchmark.

 

I find the view photography much more interesting.

 

I wonder what other people's thoughts are on this.

 

I have found some benchmarks and enjoyed the process of finding them, but have never taken pictures of any, although I have taken view pictures and posted them.

 

I also greatly enjoy looking at other people's view pictures in the Gallery, but never look at the benchmark pictures - they just aren't all that different from each other. The view pictures have such interesting differences in local plants, landforms, people, and other scenery aspects!

 

I guess one could say that without a closeup benchmark picture, there's no actual proof that I've been to the benchmarks that I've logged, but I'm out for the challenge and the process, not proofs, and certainly wouldn't claim a find if I couldn't achieve it. Plus, after one person has photographed the benchmark, how do you photograph it differently to prove that you were there too? Put your driver's licence next to it in the picture?

 

I can't resist bringing up the relationship of all this to the spoiler concept. I find that benchmark hunting does have an aspect of challenge, and I just wouldn't be as interested in finding a benchmark's location that's 'spoiled' by a picture showing how to find the benchmark. I think that neither a CLOSEUP VIEW OF IT, nor a view FROM IT is particularly a spoiler, but a view of it that shows its location in relationship to the local environment IS definitely a spoiler.

 

I know - just don't look at the spoiler. But its existence on the site is itself a spoiler whether you look at it or not.


Link to comment

Benchmarks can vary greatly in the challenges they represent. I have only found 1 so far but I have been out looking for several others. the first one was on a monument that marks the entry to my subdivision. When I ran a zipcode search I came accross it and from reading the info sheet I knew exactly where to find it. There was no challenge at all. The info sheets often will tell you exactly where to find it. You really don't even need your GPS. For example, (Wasington Street East 1.6 miles from the Main Fire Station to Route W, Then North .5 miles to a bridge over the East Branch River. The marker is a bronze disc located in the South end of the bridge 2.25' along the hand rail of the East side of the bridge, 6' from the curb of the roadway...)

 

Other benchmarks can be a bit more challenging though, especially if an area where many of the landmarks for finding the marker may no longer exist. My second Benchmark search has actually been more of a project. I have been searching an old Navy base that has been closed and is now undergoing redevelopment. Many of the buildings roads, runways, gates, fences... that were used as references are gone. So far, I have determined that the South Gate Guard House has been removed. The East Gate and Eastern boundries fences have been removed and houses have been built on and over the property line to adjacent parcels. One old office building that I know was along the fence line is still there marking where the gate was. The marker that was described as being 2' from the East Boundry fence line now appears to be in the living room of a new home. I went down 2 streets, one on each side of the house. My GPS indicated 98' North from one curb behind the house and 150' South from the office building accross the street on the front of the house. Putting the living room in the middle. The operations building and the control tower with revolving light still are there and seem to be undergoing renovation into a shopping center. I have not gotten close enough to see if the marker(s) there are still there. The water tower is not present on the skyline either.

 

Anyways, my point is that searching benchmarks can become quite challenging when you look at your hunt as an entire package or project and when the environment is undergoing frequent change or alteration. Yes, like you said, they are a real challenge for your photography skills. Closeup, as well as landscape etc. It also helps you think of how you can use your photography skills to document as well as illustrate.

 

Before I embarked on my first benchmark hunt I read a paper published by NGS about digital photography of survey devices. I don't remember the details of where I found it but it was on the NGS site. A full description is in my post under Steeples. This publication showed me what the minimum PACKAGE of photos was for the documentation of a benchmark. Of course you can go to any extreme you want or that your creativity takes you. However there are only 3 basic pictures they need. The marker (Close up), The marker in it's position (a little wider). And, a picture or pictures showing the surrounding area. The pictures you take should fill these needs and would be numbered 1, 2, 3 respectively. If you take additional pictures in each class than you would add a, b, c to them. For example, one of my finds I took two closeups. One normal(1a) and one extreme showing just the stamped numbers of the date and the marker number or ID(1b) I also took a few pictures of the surroundings of the marker, showing angles of direction toward other landmarks numbered 3a 3b 3c... This is where your GPS can really be helpful in marking where you took the pictures from.

 

You can certainly take, like I mentioned also in the Steeples post, beauty shots and other good creative and artistic shots but while you are there pop off the basic necessity shots as well. I agree with you though that when I look at the gallery I tend to pass over the ones of the benchmarks. One bronze disk is often the same as another. I find the catagory 3 shots the most interesting. Like you said they show you the different environments that exist accross this land. From mountains to cities and highways to the pastures of Wisconsin or the swamps of Florida... Maybe in relation to this hobby, if people use image numbers in their image names, according to the above mentioned NGS guidlines, other seekers might be able to choose shots that they don't want to look at as spoilers. Knowing that images with number 1 on them are close ups of the marker and that 2s show the placement of the marker and that 3 shots are area shots might help seekers decide what kind of help they want or don't want.

 

Personally, I wouldn't be put off by others who have already located and posted spoiler photos of a marker. I also don't think you need to do anything like putting your drivers license in a photo to show your mark on the location. Your view and interpretation should differentiate your experience from others. If you want your photos to stand out from the next guys on a table of pictures put your innitials in, say, the lower right corner of your pictures. That shouldn't be that necessary though since your photos are attached to your log entry. As a photography enthusiast, I look at it that my creativity, skills and personality can document a given site differently than someone else. Even if I can find the marker in 15 seconds the experience is an individual exercise in a procedure and an art. We are all individuals and our pictures can reflect differences in how we see the marker and it's surroundings compaired to the next guy. As for photographing a close up of the marker the only purpose of that, officially, is to determine the condition of the marker and that it is the marker in question. As for this hobby it would be the latter and your evidence that you were there. Like I said, put your innitials in the lower right and somebody else can't use your picture to document finding the marker themselves. Although why somebody would do that, I don't know... icon_confused.gif After all, this is a game. And I add, one that there is no actual reward or penalty for. Therefore if somebody derives enjoyment from cheating and fabricating experiences that they never accomplished or experienced so what. You point out what gives you the enjoyment, That is the important thing. With your expressed views I can safely say, you will derive more actual enjoyment from Benchmark Hunting than the guy who may log finds that he/she never found. The experience of being someplace and seeing with your own eyes... will always be in your brain. The other guy won't have that.

 

Lastly, there is the significance of some benchmarks. Their historical or arcitectural significance of the site. The landscape or scenic beauty. Whether it was easy to find or not or someone else had found it first, the ability to locate it and view and enjoy it yourself has plenty of value as well. An interesting way to direct your travel accross the country or even your hometown. Could even help you see your own neighborhood in a new light from areas, angles or vantagepoints that you previously took for granted.

 

quote:
Originally posted by Black Dog Trackers:

Everyone has differences in what aspects of an activity is the most enjoyable to them. Benchmark hunting is different from Geocaching in that a large part of the activity in Benchmark hunting is photography.

 

Benchmark photography is in 2 categories - photographing OF the benchmark itself, and photographing the view(s) FROM the benchmark.

 

I find the view photography much more interesting.

 

I wonder what other people's thoughts are on this.

 

I have found some benchmarks and enjoyed the process of finding them, but have never taken pictures of any, although I have taken view pictures and posted them.

 

I also greatly enjoy looking at other people's view pictures in the Gallery, but never look at the benchmark pictures - they just aren't all that different from each other. The view pictures have such interesting differences in local plants, landforms, people, and other scenery aspects!

 

I guess one could say that without a closeup benchmark picture, there's no actual proof that I've been to the benchmarks that I've logged, but I'm out for the challenge and the process, not proofs, and certainly wouldn't claim a find if I couldn't achieve it. Plus, after one person has photographed the benchmark, how do you photograph it differently to prove that you were there too? Put your driver's licence next to it in the picture?

 

I can't resist bringing up the relationship of all this to the spoiler concept. I find that benchmark hunting does have an aspect of challenge, and I just wouldn't be as interested in finding a benchmark's location that's 'spoiled' by a picture showing how to find the benchmark. I think that neither a CLOSEUP VIEW OF IT, nor a view FROM IT is particularly a spoiler, but a view of it that shows its location in relationship to the local environment IS definitely a spoiler.

 

I know - just don't look at the spoiler. But its existence on the site is itself a spoiler whether you look at it or not.


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Old Railroads sound great. Are you referring to abandoned railroads or just long established ones. As a railfan, I have looked into a few marks on bridges or signals etc. near me. I wouldn't want to get too close to the right of way though. I had thought of finding those markers and seeing if their is any safe and legal way to document them as well as use them as a vantage point for some good train pics. Anything to sort of add some interest or color to the pictures. Maybe it is the architecture of a tressel or bridge. Or the trains running the ravine under the bridge...

 

I would just suggest looking at the environment as a canvas to create a picture that presents the feel and cheracter of the location. You mentioned highways and the big flat nothing shots. I have encountered a couple situations like that. For those shots I just try to find something, anything. Passing cars, Wild flowers along the side of the road, maybe a nearby road sign... One time I was hanging out with a friend around a railroad switching yard. There was nothing there exept a single engine. I found one Locomotive off on the side but one loco shot is similar to so many others. What to do to make it unique??? I got on the ground a distance away and shot low at the Engine aiming accross a small patch of wildflowers along the tracks. It made all the difference in the world. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box. Sometimes just putting another object in the forground along the edge of the picture will help add some interest. Try to combine foreground with background and add some depth to the picture. Especially with digital where bad shots cost me nothing I take a lot of chances experimenting with wierd angles and compositions. Getting low, holding the camera high... Shooting through trees at at tunnel might not be as bad as it sounds. I use a Nikon Coolpix 990 that has a pivoting screen in relation to the camera portion. That allows me to get into so many different vantage points by pivoting the camera and monitor around.

 

quote:
Originally posted by WingArcher:

My take (heh) on the picture thing... I photograph the monument up close, and nothing else. For the most part, the things I find tend to be along old railroads, and the 'view' is just a tunnel in the trees. Other stuff around here is out along roads, and again, you just get the big flat nothing shot. My photograph of the disk or whatever is just evidence to support my claim of finding it.


 

[This message was edited by wmas1960 on August 15, 2002 at 11:19 PM.]

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